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The collections held by the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress comprise cultural documentation of folk and traditional culture from six continents, every U.S. state and territory, and the District of Columbia. Additionally, AFC staff maintain reference resources that provide descriptive access to our collections; create digital publications such as blogs or podcasts that offer interpretation and context for our collections; and produce public programming that augments collection materials.
These geographic guides offer entry points into the above resources, and draw on the collective knowledge and expertise of the AFC staff.
American Folklife Center collections documenting Japanese expressive culture in Japan and the United States represent the diversity of Japanese culture. Collections include ethnographic documentation of Japanese music and culture in Japan. The Chicago Ethic Arts Project and the Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools in America Project, which were American Folklife Center field projects, documented Japanese traditions in Chicago and California respectively. The Occupational Folklife Project collections include interviews with Japanese American potters who studied ceramics in Japan.
Public programs sponsored by the American Folklife Center have included concerts and presentations on various arts and cultural traditions.
The Chicago Ethnic Arts Project survey was conducted in 1977 by the American Folklife Center at the request of the Illinois Arts Council to assess and document the status of ethnic art traditions in more than twenty ethnic communities in Chicago, and was jointly sponsored by both organizations. The collection includes documentation of Japanese culture in Chicago. Rev. Gyomay and Mrs. Kubose, who established the Buddhist Temple of Chicago in 1944, are interviewed. Mrs. Kubose also taught the tea ceremony and provided fieldworkers with an opportunity to document an example of that tradition. The collection also includes photographs of a Japanese Buddhist street fair, a class in traditional women's dance, and Mary Higeko teaching a class in Japanese flower arranging.
The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.
A conversation with PJ and Roy Hirabayashi, creative director and co-founder emeriti of the performing ensemble San Jose Taiko. PJ and Roy Hirabayashi are the creative director and co-founder emeriti of the performing ensemble San Jose Taiko. They are among the pioneering artists who reinterpreted Japanese taiko drumming into a dynamic and particularly American artistic expression. (Event date: June 30, 2017)